Men who read magazines that objectify females, like Maxim, Playboy or Men’s Health, are less likely to seek sexual consent or respect sexual boundaries, according to a new study.
Researchers at Washington State University surveyed more than 300 college students about their magazine reading habits and their personal relationships.
Researchers said they found “the dominant heterosexual scripts in men’s magazines is negatively associated with consent negotiation intentions.” Men who read men's mags were more likely to make sexual advances and not back down when resisted.
Researchers point out many of these men’s magazines give readers a “false impression” about negotiating consensual sexual encounters, ThinkProgress reported.
The study found, in contrast, that exposure to women’s magazines is associated with greater intentions to refuse unwanted sexual activity.
“We learn a lot about how to act in a relationship by what we see and read in the media. Bad information can lead to bad decisions,” Stacey J.T. Hust, an associate professor in WSU’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, said in a release.
However the link does not prove that the magazines cause this behavior – it is possible that men who read those magazines already have “dismissive” attitudes towards females.
Hust, the lead researcher, says that men’s and women’s magazines could offer a useful tool to influence behavior.
“The results suggest that magazines may be a successful medium for educating readers about sexual consent negotiation and encouraging positive behaviors,” said Emily Garrigues Marett, a professor at the College of Business at Mississippi State University. “These results may indicate that the publishing industry’s efforts to include content that empowers young women to take control of their sexual health are having a positive impact.”